Wrapping her in crystal spires and tiers of lacy icicles, Mother Nature turned the Northeast into a spectacle of sparkling light last week. And then, as it all subsided, the earth was drenched in ponding water and soggy fields, and trees were liberated from the rattle of the wind to the stillness of shaded gray trunks. There was no doubt about the truth: there is power far greater than mine in the world, cycles of life that are far beyond the spectre of my control.
And so it is that in eality, each life is only one tiny fragment of a much greater whole. My life, such as it is, such as it matters, is part of a far greater stream of lifetimes with goals and purposes, setbacks and suffering, losses and luck that I can hardly imagine. There is comfort in that incredible collage of persons, in the knowledge that there is always more. I bring something to the table, and so does every other individual. To begin to know, hear, and understand that reality is the summons to become more human. As each progresses on that journey, there is the invitation to others to come further, to become more aware of the persons and the world around us.
Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians opens that doorway to seeing individual lives as something of a greater mosaic: many parts, one Body. An image incomplete without even a single life. Whole in spite of, even because of, loss and pain. All linked together without a doubt. It is paired with a Gospel reading that celebrates the reality of Jesus’ human life and His embrace of the mission ahead, his moving with the Spirit. Whole, then, in dimensions of life that defy conventional understandings.
There rests the conundrum of faith: the clash of what is seen and believed, known and understood, with the reality of dimensions rarely acknowledged or explored. It is not to say because they are unexplored that they do not exist. Instead, Life itself provides so many moments to take that dare, that risk, to explore something so far beyond and so deeply embedded within self. Like the ice storm that turned a raw winter world into a wonderland, faith transforms the rawness and randomness of human life into a reality glittering with meaning, purpose, and possibility.